Celebrating National Family Caregivers Month

An open letter from the founders of ianacare on their mission, and the future of caregiver support.

In November, National Family Caregiver Month will “recognize and honor” family caregivers across the US. We initially set out to build ianacare as a solution caregivers could rely on for practical and emotional support, no matter their caregiving journey, circumstances, socioeconomic standing, race, geographic location…

And over the past 5 years, we have successfully done that. We have partnered with some of the most forward-looking organizations to support their caregiving associates. We’ve also partnered with some of the top leaders in the private and public sectors, as well as the leading cultural voices on caregiving, to truly understand and address the scope of support needed. 

More than 5 years into this journey, we know one thing is certain: recognition is critical and a first step, but we can’t stop there. After serving over 500k covered ianacare members, we have a first-hand, in-depth look at what caregivers do every day. Our technology captures the hundreds of thousands of caregiving hours, the thousands of rides to appointments, and the countless daily tasks they fulfill to ensure their loved one gets the best care. 

From the activities we track, we can confidently claim that it’s MORE than the reported $600B in unpaid care that family caregivers contribute to our systems. This work has real impact on our society, workforce, and healthcare. Still, the pressure placed on family caregivers is only growing and intensifying.

  • In 2020, the number of adults aged 65 or older reached 17 percent, according to the Census Bureau. By 2034, there will be more Americans past retirement age than there are children.
  • The 85+ population will more than double from 2020 to 2040.
  • 80% of long-term care for elders is provided by family members.
  • Programs such as Hospital at Home are becoming increasingly popular, shifting the burden away from clinical settings and onto family caregivers.
  • Around 42M Americans provide “informal support” to someone 50 and older – and that number is on the rise.

     

There are still gaps in support for these caregivers – and the consequences of this are rapidly multiplying, putting caregivers at risk alongside the loved ones we are caring for.

  • A rising number of caregivers suffer serious financial hardship and report a decline in their own physical and mental health.
  • Caregivers are at increased risk for serious illnesses, such as depression and cancer, and suffer a higher mortality rate than non-caregivers.
  • Patients whose caregivers are depressed, burnt out, or fatigued experience a 73% increase in ED utilization which leads to $1,938 higher medical costs.

In light of these realities, this National Family Caregivers Month, let’s go beyond recognizing the staggering stats of family caregivers, and let’s commit to putting real value on who they are and the impact of what they do. This means putting them and the work they do higher on the priority list, higher in the budget, and higher in the healthcare processes.

 

So what’s next for family caregivers?

 

We’re on a mission to prove the value that family caregivers have across the board, putting clinical-level proof around the worth of care in the home and solidifying it as – inarguably – a critical part of healthcare. And we know that ianacare – our team, our experience, and most importantly, our solution– is uniquely positioned to have this impact. Let’s do this.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Jessica Kim
Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder

Steven Lee
President, Chief Operations Officer, and Co-Founder